February 19 in Yankee History

  • The Yankees paused to reload on February 19, 1957, shipping former Boston lefty can’t-miss prospect Mickey McDermott (he missed), along with hurlers Tom Morgan, Gary Coleman, and Jack Urban, outfielder Irv Noren, and infielders Billy Hunter and Milt Graff to the Kansas City Athletics for a package of players of their own. K.C. had a major-league team (now in Oakland) that at the time the Bombers mined regularly for young talent. The returning supporting cast was pitcher Jack McMahan and infielders Curt Roberts and Wayne Belardi, but the marquee names were righthander Art Ditmar, third sacker Clete Boyer, and lefty Bobby Shantz, who (here’s a twist) batted righty. Between them, Ditmar and Shantz gave the Yankees a four-year total of 77 wins with 50 losses, and 30 big saves. And Boyer contributed 95 homers, 397 rbi’s, and 27 stolen bases along with eight years of solid defense at the hot corner. Continue reading
  • February 18 in Yankee History

  • On February 18, 1998, the Yanks avoided arbitration with Bernie Williams by signing him to an $8.5 million contract, his last one-year deal. Ten months later they would barely avoid losing him to the Red Sox with an $87.5 million, seven-year deal. The one news item yet to occur in Bernie’s playing career was the day he would make his de facto retirement official. Continue reading
  • February 17 in Yankee History

  • Righthander Jack Morris had just won a record arbitration amount four days earlier, but it was eclipsed when Yankee first sacker Don Mattingly was awarded $1,975,000 to play the 1987 season with the Yankees on February 17 of that year. With 30 homers, 115 rbi’s, and a .327 batting average, he would prove more than worth the expense. Continue reading
  • February 16 in Yankee History

  • Pulling off the blockbuster that the Red Sox attempted but failed to complete two months earlier, the Yankees nabbed All Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez on February 16, 2004, from the Rangers. In return, New York sent Texas Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. The Rangers also paid part of A-Rod’s mammoth contract, and Alex agreed to slide to third in deference to Yankee Captain and shortstop Derek Jeter. Alex has had some up-and-down times since, with steroid use revelations and a significant hip injury leading into the 2009 season, but he turned it all around with a dominant postseason offensive performance as the Yanks won the World Series. And Alex surprised the baseball world with a solid 2015 return season. Continue reading
  • February 14 in Yankee History

  • “How about that?” Mel Allen, the “Voice of the Yankees” from 1939 through 1964, and the voice of This Week in Baseball, would have zoomed past 100 a few years ago on this day, Valentine’s Day. Mel entered this world on February 14, 1913, but I can still hear him calling another Ballantine Blast to this day. Continue reading
  • February 13 in Yankee History

  • On February 13, 1986, catcher Ron Hassey was traded back to the Yankees from the White Sox two months after making the exact opposite trip. Yankee players who were traded for or with Ron in his back-and-forth-and-back odyssey between the nation’s number one and two cities include pitcher Neil Allen, catcher Scott Bradley, power hitter Ron Kittle, infielder Wayne Tolleson, and catcher Joel Skinner. Hassey contributed 19 taters, 71 rbi’s, and one steal to the Yankee cause in 1985 and 1986. Continue reading
  • February 11 in Yankee History

  • Bobby Murcer‘s away-from-the-Yanks odyssey took a second step on February 11, 1977, when he was traded from the Giants to the Cubs for Bill Madlock. Finally on June 26, 1979, he would return to the Bronx as the Yanks sent pitcher Paul Semall and cash to the Cubs. Bobby hit 34 homers with 181 rbi’s and 21 stolen bases with the Giants in 1975-1976, and followed with 43, 175, and 32 with the Cubs. It was a crushing blow to Yankee fans when Bobby succumbed to his illness in 2008. Continue reading
  • February 10 in Yankee History

  • What would we do with a Yankee pitcher who turned in a 303-150 win-loss record? We would wax on into the night about the strength and drive of his fastball, the elegance of his big nose-to-toes slow-breaking curve, and wink at the cunning of his well-timed and devastating change. No, the Yankees have had no such phenom toeing the mound in the Bronx. But when considering Yankee birthdays for February 10, we come across a couple of guys who starred for two separate Pinstriped Dynasties, and their numbers, when grouped, are astounding. Lefty hurler Herb Pennock (1894) arrived on the Yankee scene on January 30, 1923, traded by the Red Sox to New York for Camp Skinner, Norm McMillan, George Murray, and cash just in time for the opening of the Yankee Cathedral in the Bronx. Herb dominated for years, and won five starts without a loss in World Series play. He also collected two WS saves along the way, the last in the Babe Ruth “Called Shot” game in Wrigley in 1932. Pennock had a classic start in the 1927 Series against the Pirates, when he retired the first 22 batters and ended with a three-hitter. Continue reading